College can be a time to develop new and lasting friendships. It can also be a difficult time to find your niche and place to fit in with others. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities to make friends, join groups, and find activities that are fun. As I mentioned last week, all relationships, including friendships, require effort, time, and attention. Many of the questions from last week’s blog are applicable here as well. How do my friends treat me? Do they respect my boundaries and accept our differences? Can I trust them with personal information about myself? Good friendships are built on compatible interests and values, mutual respect, open communication, and trust.
Personally I value friendships and have attempted over the years to stay connected to my friends. Positive friendships can offer support, comfort, guidance, love, and acceptance. When looking for friends it helps to have common interests and enjoy similar activities. A friendship requires a give and take, whereby both individuals contribute to the relationship equally, but not where one keeps score. We all need friends to lean on during difficult times and celebrate with during joyful times. We also want to spend time with people who have similar ambition, drive, and passion for life. We grow and learn from others, so seek friends who challenge you and encourage you to excel.
Good friends are forgiving and don’t hold grudges. They can apologize and value the friendship over their own pride. Friends can be lovingly honest and accepting of your idiosyncrasies. In all relationships anger, hurt, sadness, and fear may occur, but lasting friends talk through emotion and conflict with the goal of retaining the friendship. Sometimes it doesn’t work that way and friendships end, but making the effort to resolve the issues constructively can provide a good learning experience. Life is full of twists and turns, but lasting friendships makes the journey smoother.